Anonym: Aj, det där skar i hjärtat av att läsa. Särskilt det sista.. :( Jag förstår inte riktigt hur han blev av med alla sina pengar – berodde det enbart på för mycket spenderade pengar på shopping? :S
Nej, det berodde inte enbart på shopping. Efter vad jag förstod av boken så var Michael så nedslagen efter rättegången 2005 att han inte längre själv tog hand om sina affärer. Enligt livvakterna berättade Grace att Michael var i total kontroll innan och ordnade allting själv och ekonomin gick hur bra som helst (han är ju välkänd att ha varit en proffsig businessman). Ansvaret föll på andra människor som jobbade för honom och som inte var kapabla till det. Det var kaos. Livvakterna visste inte vad som pågick – inte ens Michael.
Det berodde dels på att Michael blev stämd hela tiden. När han litade på andra människor att ta hand om hans affärer blev det fel. Och för att till varje pris undvika att genomgå ytterligare en rättegång valde han att betala de som stämde honom för att få dem att ge sig iväg. Detta resulterade i att han förlorade massvis med pengar. Thomas Meserau, Michaels advokat under rättegången, har ju sagt: "Why work when you can sue Michael Jackson?", vilket beskriver situationen fullkomligt.
Jag bläddrade lite i boken för att finna en beskrivning om detta, och så här berättade livvakterna om Michaels brist på kontroll över sina pengar:
Javon: He started to see that our morale was down. We were driving one day and he said, "Guys, is there anything you want to tell me? You don't seem like yourselves right now."
  We opened up to him completely. We said, "Mr. Jackson, we've got bills stacking up. We're loyal to you, we're here for you, but this is taking a toll on our families back home."
  He said, "What? You guys still haven't been paid?!"
  "No, sir."
  "But I told Raymone to pay you. I told her! Bill, would you please get Raymone on the phone?"
  He called her right there in front of us, put her on the speakerphone. She answered, and he said, "Raymone, my guys' morale is down. What's going on with their paychecks? When are you going to pay these guys?
  He really tore into her. She started getting all flustered, stammering her way through the same old excuses. "I'll take care of it. We're just waiting for some things to come through. I'll take care of it."
  He started shouting over her. "Raymone... Raymone... Raymone! You have to pay these guys. These guys are protecting me and my family. Without me, this machine doesn't run."
  She said, "I'm gonna pay 'em. I'm gonna pay 'em this week."
  "When this week? I have my guys right here, Raymone. They're on speakerphone. When this week?"
  This was on a Tuesday. She said, "I'll pay 'em Thursday."
  Thursday came and no pay. We were like, Wow. Are you kidding me? That's when we knew that Mr. Jackson really had no control over his own money. He was giving her direct orders and she was blowing him off. He'd apologize for it all the time. He'd say, "Guys, you know it's not my fault."
  "Yes, Mr. Jackson. We know."
  "I told her to pay you. She says she's going to pay you real soon. But you know it's not my fault, right?"
Bill: He really meant it, that it wasn't his fault. But on the flip side, I don't think he understood the depth of the problem, what happens when people like us don't get paid, the lights getting turned off, the phone getting turned off. He didn't understand that.
Javon: You can tell when somebody's bullshitting you and when they're being sincere, and he was being sincere in that it really was out of his control. But we were still upset. We wanted to grab him and say, "But it could be in your control. Why don't you take control? Why aren't you in charge of your own people?"
Bill: At one point, he said to me, "It's done. They're closing a big deal, and you guys are getting paid this week." That deal came and went. No paycheck. He called me and said, "Bill, I'm sorry. You guys would have gotten paid, but there's something about my balance with Greg's firm was bigger than I thought it was, so it applied all the money to the bill."
  I thought, What the fuck? The lawyers work for you. How does that money not come to you first for you to make the decision about how you want to use those funds? Greg did a job and he expected to be paid. I understood that. But we were in the same position, and we were flat broke.
  Michael Jackson was a billion-dollar enterprise, running 24/7, and there's nobody in charge. There was no organization, no actual company, just different people in different pockets all jockeying for different agendas. He didn't even have an office. His office was wherever he stood at. His business phone was whatever phone you put in his hand. Didn't have an email address. Most of his correspondence would go to Raymone. People would send her stuff and she'd overnight it to me wherever we were. Fans who knew who I was would even send mail to my house.
  Mr. Jackson thought that Raymone was running an official office for his company in D.C. One day when I had to go and pick up a package from her and I pulled up in front of her address. It was a house. She was running his business out of her house. I heard him talking one day about how Raymone managed his office for him. I said, "Sir, Raymone doesn't have an office."
  "Yes, she does. She runs my office in D.C."
  "No, Mr. Jackson. She lives in D.C. She works out of her house."
  "You mean I don't have an office?"
  Not only did he not have an office, he didn't know that he didn't have an office. That's how disengaged he was from his own affairs.
  Greg and Raymone were the two people that I had the most interaction with, but there were lots of other people: lawyers, accountants, flunkies, assistants. Some of these people had the authority to write and sign checks. There were people out the entering into agreements and signing contracts on his behalf. But who reported to whom, who was accountable for what, it was never clear. It never made any sense.
  Part of it, I think, was misplaced trust. He trusted the wrong people, and he wanted to believe in them and they took advantage of him. But part of it was apathy. He was so beaten up by that point. He wanted to be with his kids, do his creative projects, and beyond that, he'd checked out of a lot of it. I'd been handling his correspondence for months at that point. So I know for a fact he wasn't getting any monthly statements or financial reports or anything like that. He didn't have a checkbook. He wasn't sitting down with his accountants on any regular basis, keepings tabs on what was being done.
  He'd been so rich his whole life that I don't think he really grasped the idea that he could go broke. He just thought there would always be more. He always had cash on him. He had hundreds of thousands of dollars stashed away in that house in Vegas, in little hiding spots, and I knew he had some of that cash with him in Virginia. To him, that was real money, money he could put his hands on to get whatever he needed right then. And as long as he had that, it was like he didn't think about the rest of it, all his investments and publishing rights, none of it. And I got the impression that his handlers knew that, that if they kept a couple hundred grand in easy reach for him, he would never pay too much mind to what was going on with the rest. And he didn't.
  I was driving him in D.C. one day, and he was on the phone with Peter Lopez. I could hear parts of their conversation, and I heard Mr. Jackson say, "Peter, I don't know where my money is. Or how much money I have. Can you help me?"
  The fact that those words could even come out of his mouth was terrifying to me. And by ignoring his financial problems and trusting others to handle them, he'd created all sorts of legal problems for himself, too. Michael Jackson was like a flypaper for lawsuits. At any given time, there were hundreds of lawsuits pending against him, literally. Some of them were frivolous. Paternity suits from stalkers, that sort of thing. But a lot of these suits were serious, multimillion-dollar claims. With his business coming apart and nobody in charge, people weren't getting paid. Deals were being reneged on.
  There was a whole cast of characters. Former managers and associates who claimed they were part of this or that and they hadn't been paid or they were owed a piece of something. People who'd worked on his album and music videos, claiming they weren't getting their royalty payments. It was one problem rolling over into the next. I'd get these legal documents from FedExed to me for his signature, so I saw how much money was going out the door. He'd settle for a quarter million dollars, half a million dollars, whatever it took. People usually sue when they think they can get something. And everybody knew that if you sued Michael Jackson, you'd get a settlement. He'd challange the frivolous ones, like the paternity nonsense. He'd get those thrown out. But if you had any kind of claim that could justify to trial? He'd just pay you to go away, because after what he went through in 2005, he was never going to set foot in a courtroom again.
Javon: While we were in Virginia, we took him to depositions at Greg Cross's office in D.C. We'd done several of them back in Vegas, and there were a coupld he had to do there. He dreaded going.
  These depositions were all-day marathons. They'd put him in the chair, and the opposing attorneys would grill him for hours. There'd be a team of Mr. Jackson's guys in that room too, all of them billing him at hundreds of dollars an hour for hours on end. Usually they'd provide lunch at these things, because they kept you there for so long. They'd take a conference room and lay out bunch of sandwitches and snacks and fruits. At one point, Greg came out and offered us some food, and me and Bill went up to this room to grab something to eat. We were going through, making our sandwitches and talking. "Man, how long is this going to be? I'm ready to get the hell up out of here." Then we heard a sound from the back of the room. We looked over and it was Mr. Jackson. He said, "Hey, guys."
  "Oh, hey! Mr. Jackson!"
  I was caught off guard. They'd just left him in this room, sitting by himself, like a little kid off in the corner. It was like he was on a time-out. I swear that's exactly how it looked, like his lawyers had put him in the corner for a time-out. Then, once lunch was over, they took him back to the conference room, put him back in the chair, and grilled him some more.
  When we got in the car to go home, he just went off. He vented to us the whole way home. "I'm so tired of all of this shit. I'm tired of it. I'm tired of giving depositions. These guys are asking me the same stupid questions over and over again. I just wanna go home to my kids."

Anonym | Datum: 2014-12-18 Tid: 23:06:00

TACK! nu förstår jag :D

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Publicerat det: 2014-12-17 | Klockan: 21:31:00 | Kategori: Frågor och svar


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